On February 5, the Rochester School Committee reviewed the preliminary Fiscal Year 2016 budget that Robin Rounseville and Tina Rood – the budget sub-committee – had prepared. Rood cautioned that the budget being presented was a “work in process” and not yet complete. A final budget will be completed in March for public review.
Superintendent Douglas White noted that the modest 2.9 percent increase was primarily due to operating and maintenance expenses. The total budget figure sits at $1.8 million.
White pointed out a decrease of $33,000 in transportation costs and an increase of $20,000 in technology, which is precipitated by the need to acquire new devices for the PARCC assessment.
A major feature of the new PARCC assessment program is the manner in which students are engaged in the art and science of reading. This was detailed by Dr. Elise Frangos, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction, during her report to the committee.
She said that students will be challenged and involved with reading and developing skills at every opportunity, not only during a reading assignment. Using a ‘transmedia’ approach, students and teachers will have a more enriched reading and writing educational experience.
Frangos also reported on the Bay State Reading Intuitive, another integrated reading program in which she strongly believes. In this program, teachers learn how to become reading coaches. She plans to attend a workshop on the program along with several senior department heads in the district to learn more.
During White’s central office report, he reminded the members that snow days have to be made up at the end of the year as mandated by the state. He also told them about mobile fingerprinting units that will be on-site for teachers and other staff members. This is part of new state regulations for more intensive background reviews.
In his printed newsletter White states: “All school employees, including educators, maintenance staff, cafeteria workers, bus drivers, and employees of contractors who work in the schools and may have direct and unmonitored contact with children are required to complete the new national background check by the end of the 2016 school year.” Volunteers will still be required to submit to state CORI checks at least once every three years, but will not be required to submit fingerprints for national screening.
The mobile unit will visit each town in the district at the following locations and dates: ORRHS/JR – February 13 and March 6 between 8:00 am and 3:00 pm; Sippican School – March 20, 8:00 am and 3:00 pm; Center and Old Hammondtown Schools – March 27, 8:00 am and 3:00 pm; and Rochester Memorial School – April 17, 8:00 am and 3:00 pm. The fee for non-licensed employees is $35 and for license-holders is $55.
Principal Derek Medeiros reported that PARCC testing would take place between March 16 and April 10.
The next meeting of the Rochester School Committee is scheduled for March 5 at 6:30 pm in the Town Hall meeting room.
By Marilou Newell